According to research published in Nature, overfishing caused more than 70% of the shark and stingray population to be wiped out between 1970 and 2018. This left an “open, growing hole” in ocean life. As many as 24 out of 31 species of sharks and stingrays are threatened with extinction. The research concerns species living mainly in open waters.
Scientists point out that the decline in marine species, from hammerhead sharks to stingrays, is worrying. The most affected by the crisis is – often described as particularly dangerous – the great white shark. Currently, it is on the verge of extinction due to human activities. Its global population has declined by 98% in the last 60 years.
A team of scientists has spent years collecting and analyzing scientific research information and catch data to compile a global picture of the state of 31 species of sharks and stingrays. Three-quarters of the studied species were found to be threatened with extinction. The greatest threat to them is overfishing. Other factors contributing to their destruction are also climate change and poor protection. The researchers argue, however, that endangered animals can still be saved from extinction if appropriate protective measures are taken.